Head Case by Robert Iles


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MONICA ENTERS WITH TWO CUPS OF COFFEE, SHE IS DRINKING FROM ONE

MONICA: I'll leave your coffee on the table (PAUSE) did you hear me?
EILEEN: What?
MONICA: Your coffee
EILEEN: What about it?
MONICA: I'll leave it here. On the table.
EILEEN: Ok, I heard you, I'm not deaf
MONICA: Ha ha
EILEEN: Just don't move anything
MONICA: (FRUSTRATED, UNDER HER BREATHE) How dumb am I
EILEEN: I'm just saying, that's all, its important
MONICA: Yes, I do know, remember
EILEEN: Sorry (pause) I heard that
MONICA: What?
EILEEN: That shrug
MONICA: I didn't shrug
EILEEN: I heard it
MONICA: No you didn't
EILEEN: No. I didn't, I just knew you'd shrug
MONICA: (PAUSE) You're right, I did. Can I see it?
EILEEN: It's nearly there.
MONICA: So can I see it?

EILEEN ENTERS, SHE IS BLIND BUT THIS
IS HER OWN FLAT WHERE SHE HAS LIVED
(ALONE) FOR SOME TIME SO SHE MOVES
RELATIVELY FREELY AROUND IT

EILEEN: When you get back. Probably. Are they in a hurry
for it?
MONICA: Yes. No. Actually most of them think its a waste
of time.
EILEEN: Great.
MONICA: Those that care at all.
EILEEN: You're quite a motivational speaker. Glad I spent
so much time on it now
MONICA: Happy?
EILEEN: With the head?
MONICA: Of course with the head
EILEEN: Yes. I think so. I'll be happier when we have a
name for her
MONICA: At least we have a gender
EILEEN: She needs a name, everyone needs a name, even the
dead
MONICA: We may never find out who she is, you know that,
I did tell you that
EILEEN: But we will find out who she is. You and me, the
Thompson Twins
MONICA: We're not twins
EILEEN: And our name is Timpson, I know, but the Thompson
Twins sounds better, you used to read me the
stories, I remember you sitting on my bed reading
them to me
MONICA: Tin Tin and the Suspiciously Racist Adventure
EILEEN: But it was the Thompson Twins I loved, the ones I
really remember
MONICA: Then you should also remember that they were
totally incompetent, and my name is now Simpson
anyway
EILEEN: Simpson, Timpson what's the difference
MONICA: A rather expensive wedding, three years of grief
and a mortgage that would sink a battleship
EILEEN: Not sure that's a good analogy
MONICA: You know what I mean
EILEEN: Only by reputation, never having seen a
battleship, or indeed any ship, I have only your
word for the fact that sinking one ...
MONICA: Ok, ok, you're right, bad analogy. (BEAT) Good
analogy, bad audience - a blind pedant who
doesn't realise how hard it is to do this without
using a looky likey
EILEEN: Why not do a smelly likey, or a soundy likey or
better still a feely likey, I'm good at those
MONICA: Feeling a battleship is unlikely to help,
smelling one would be even less useful, I would
have thought. Imagine something the size of a
block of flats only lying on its side and
floating
EILEEN: You're really bad at this, anyway, back to the
point, we need to find this girl a name. And a
family
MONICA: I told you not to get emotionally involved,
you're no good to me if you get all misty eyed
EILEEN: It wont cloud my vision
MONICA: Ha, bloomin ha, I have so missed your sense of
humour
EILEEN: Its why you love me
MONICA: You're my sister, that's why I love you.
EILEEN: I took you in when your husband asked you ever so
politely to leave. That's why you love me.
MONICA: I walked out thank you, lets just remember that
EILEEN: I was surprised he stood you for so long
MONICA: He knew what I was like before we married
EILEEN: We all knew what you were like, that's why we
were surprised he proposed
MONICA: I was surprised I accepted
EILEEN: True. You will find her though
MONICA: His other woman?
EILEEN: There is no 'other woman' remember? It was your
fault not his. I meant 'you will find my head'
MONICA: On top of your neck, stick your finger in your
ear and you'll be pointing at it
EILEEN: I'll remember that, thanks, good advice, we're so
lucky to have such a highly qualified police
force
MONICA: I'll try.
EILEEN: Its your job to try, can't you put a bit of extra
effort in?
MONICA: I brought you the skull didn't I
EILEEN: That was a bribe, to let you stay here
MONICA: That was ...
EILEEN: A bribe
MONICA: Ok, a bribe, I'll take it back
EILEEN: Don't you touch her
MONICA: Reconstruction is not very well thought of at the
station, this is the twenty first century after
all
EILEEN: I love it when people say things like that, such
nonsense
MONICA: What do you mean, nonsense?
EILEEN: Well, in 1912 they probably said “this is the
twentieth century”
MONICA: Well it was
EILEEN: And a couple of World Wars short of a history
book
MONICA: And a flight to the moon
EILEEN: indeed any flight, and the internet
MONICA: And TV
EILEEN: (BEAT) According to TV you can recreate a face
pretty well at will, mind you, according to most
TV shows your lot are all corrupt and depressive,
or drunk and separated .. wait, maybe its true
MONICA: We'd normally only use it on very high profile
cases
EILEEN: As opposed to what? Unknown, unidentified, bodies
no one cares about? If her skull was a few
hundred years old, or in the way of a new road,
or under a chalk hill people would spend a
fortune guessing who she might have been and
speculating on how she died.
MONICA: If it was a few thousand years old it'd be in a
museum having had more scans and science spent on
it than anyone living, but what's your point?
EILEEN: People seems to care more for the identity of the
archaeologically dead than for forensics. The
recently dead don't seem to count for much
MONICA: We do our best
EILEEN: A really low priority. (PAUSE) Sorry.
MONICA: I don't know why you're giving me a hard time,
I'm the one trying to actually do something,
change attitudes
EILEEN: One skull at a time
MONICA: If you must be so, ...
EILEEN: Anatomical?
MONICA: (PAUSE) I'll find her. I can be an optimist too
you know
EILEEN: Glass half full,...
TOGETHER: and a chaser on the side
EILEEN STARTS TO CROSS TO THE SOFA,
BANGS INTO A STOOL
MONICA: Sorry, sorry, I moved it last night when we were
talking, forgot to put it back, sorry
EILEEN: Its ok, I never think things might have moved,
there's normally only me here to move them
MONICA: There, its back, I should have thought, sorry
EILEEN: (FEELING HER BRAILLE WATCH) Stop apologising,
hadn't you better go, if you're going this
evening
MONICA: You're right. I'll go. Back home soon
EILEEN: If he'll have you. That's not what I meant
MONICA: I know, but I should, really, we're all grown ups
EILEEN: Didn't stop you acting like a spoiled brat
MONICA: You're supposed to be on my side
EILEEN: You're my sister. Now go find out who our young
lady here is .... was ... is
MONICA: Do you know how many people go missing each year
EILEEN: No, but I suspect that most of them simply turn
up again, or don't want to be found
MONICA: Ok, so do you know how many unnamed bodies turn
up each year
EILEEN: No, no I don't
MONICA: Neither do I. Lots.
EILEEN: I thought a murder case was never closed?
MONICA: Its not. Not all bodies are murder you know
EILEEN: You said this skull was found ...
MONICA: Yes, this one looks very like it is, very very
like
EILEEN: It's a good starting point
MONICA: Except that you're making her into a victim not
just a person
EILEEN: I'm not making her anything. She is what she is,
I'm just putting flesh back on the bones
MONICA: From clay we are made, in clay she returns
EILEEN: Its .... well, its just I can feel what her face
should be, I know what faces feel like, that's
all I'm doing, making it feel right ... making
her feel right
MONICA: Listen, I made up an invoice for your work, I'll
take it in, you'll get paid
EILEEN: I don't want to be paid for this
MONICA: No, but I need you to be paid
EILEEN: I thought you said your budgets were tight. No
money for Jane Doe
MONICA: No money for computer generated reconstruction,
no. Clay work is cheap, according to this invoice
anyway. I have gone out on a limb here and I need
to legitimise it with an invoice; that way I can
only get in mild trouble.
EILEEN: As opposed to?
MONICA: The mega trouble I would get into if someone
spotted I'd taken a skull from an open dead body
case to give to my sister to play with
EILEEN: Reconstruct
MONICA: Its a matter of perception
EILEEN: Your lot seem to prefer suspicion to perception.
Its even later now by the way. If you're going
MONICA: Right. Listen ...
EILEEN: Go
MONICA: Ok, ok, later. (PAUSE) Don't go crazy home alone
will you
EILEEN: I have plenty of people to talk to
MONICA: On the phone
EILEEN: In my head
MONICA: You talk to the head? Heads you sculpt?
EILEEN: No, its a bust, you can't talk to a bust! I talk
to the people in my head
MONICA: Talking to yourself, not a good sign, I worried
it would turn you crazy
EILEEN: Actually I listen mostly and its not so much
myself as other voices, like sitting in a cafe
and listening to conversations from other tables.
MONICA: You're weird
EILEEN: Could be
MONICA: Definitely
EILEEN: Well, everyone is a bit weird so being a bit
weird is pretty normal
MONICA: Insanely logical, with the emphasis on the insane
EILEEN: Anyway, I do go out. Meet other people, go to the
cinema, I get a discount you know, concerts, wine
bars
MONICA: Blind dates?
EILEEN: At least I have a life outside work
MONICA: So do I
EILEEN: Really? Here's Monica, by day she's a
policewoman, she wants to change the world and
her hobbies include ... well? Got any hobbies?
And I don't include meeting up with colleagues
after work or winding up your poor sister ....
MONICA: Who's winding who up here?
EILEEN: You. Me.
MONICA: And I'm a detective constable thank you so much.
EILEEN: Should be an inspector at your age
MONICA: Thank you
EILEEN: And working on something better than sweeping up
the lost and cold cases
MONICA: Had enough?
EILEEN: Not sure, how about your failing marriage
MONICA: (FRUSTRATED) At least I'm not blind!
PAUSE. BOTH START LAUGHING
EILEEN: Good lord you haven't said anything like that
since I was ten!
MONICA: I ran out of arguments
EILEEN: You mean I won?
MONICA: Ok, ok, you won
EILEEN: Sorry, I shouldn't have pushed it
MONICA: But you're right, passed by and pushed aside ...
damn it, damn them
EILEEN: Well, crack this case and lets see if it can kick
start your career ... Thompson Twins rule
MONICA: It'll take more than this, cold cases don't count
for much
EILEEN: Glass half full remember, Now, before you go,
given that your departments budget doesn't run to
a Braille printer, can you just run what you have
about her past me
MONICA: I didn't think you wanted to know?
EILEEN: I didn't, but she's almost done now so it wont
affect me, might help me finish off
MONICA: (READING) Female, found buried in Shelley's Wood,
no dental record matches, light colour hair,
early twenties, probably, caucasian as far as we
can tell, wasn't much to go on
EILEEN: Height?
MONICA: We only found the head
EILEEN: You didn't tell me that
MONICA: Is it relevant?
EILEEN: It was, I mean it would ... just the head?
MONICA: According to the paperwork
EILEEN: Gross
MONICA: She's a no-body
EILEEN: Very funny
MONICA: We're pretty sure it wasn't suicide
EILEEN: That'll be your professional Police training
again will it?
MONICA: You now know as much as we do
EILEEN: And it really was just a head? I mean, your lot
had a really good look around?
MONICA: Now let me think ... of course we did, we're not
stupid, not that stupid. (BEAT) Some of us are
not that stupid.
EILEEN: So we're trying to match this head to a body,
some-body?
MONICA: Not much to ask, we've never found a body we
could match up
EILEEN: I don't think I want to think about that, what a
job, speaking of which you'd better go, get to
work, leave now, the sooner you're gone, the
sooner you're back ...
MONICA: Ok, ok, bully. I wont be long. You going to be
alright?
EILEEN: Light. Don't forget to turn off the light
MONICA: Say 'hi' to those voice in your head for me ...
weirdo
EILEEN: Thanks

MONICA LEAVES. MONICA TURNS OUT THE
LIGHTS ON HER WAY OUT WHICH IS WHEN
GEORGIE APPEARS, TAKING ADVANTAGE OF
THE SNAP TO BLACK BEFORE SOME SIDE
LIGHTING FADES UP. GEORGIE IS DRESSED
IN BLACK, BACK TO THE AUDIENCE,
LOOKING IN A MIRROR

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT GEORGIE'S
BEHAVIOUR IS SEEN AS PERFECTLY NORMAL
THROUGHOUT BUT THAT SHE NEVER
ACTUALLY TOUCHES OR MOVES ANYTHING -
NEVER PHYSICALLY INTERACTS WITH
ANYTHING - SHE CAN SIT, STAND, LOOK
BUT NOT TOUCH, WELL, NOT IN SUCH A
WAY AS TO AFFECT THE EXTERNAL OBJECT
EILEEN WALKS BACK TO HER STOOL,
CAUTIOUSLY UNTIL SHE IS PAST WHERE
THE CHAIR HAD BEEN MOVED. SHE SITS,
REACHES OUT AND FINDS THE COFFEE,
SWEARS UNDER HER BREATHE AND REPOSITIONS
SOME OF HER TOOLS.

EILEEN: Now then my friend, how are you doing? I think
you're finished but I didn't want her to know
that till we've had time for a chat, once she
gets hold of you it'll be all third person and
official talk. Let's tidy you up a bit, breathe
some more life back into you. (PAUSE) What's your
story girl of clay, talk to me.
PAUSE
GEORGIE: I'm Gee
EILEEN: Who's that?

[end of extract]

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